A NEWLY rebuilt Saxon hall was officially opened in Stourport, by seventh century royalty, with help from Staffordshire hoard finder, Terry Herbert and his metal detector.
King Radwaeld marched down to Bishops Wood Centre on Friday in full armour to give his royal assent to the £34,000 hall which has risen from the ashes of the hand-built structure which burnt to the ground in 2008.
The King greeted guests in old English and Mr Herbert used his metal detector to unearth a Saxon knife, which the royal visitor used to cut an authentic lime bask cord to declare the building officially open.
Author of many books on the Anglo-Saxons, Stephen Pollington also made a speech in the language of the time to mark the occasion, before guests and children on a school trip stepped over the threshold to look inside.
The structure was based on an original Saxon hall excavated and reconstructed in West Stow, Suffolk. It will play an important role in the centre’s Saxon and Viking programme in which children from across Worcestershire and from as far afield as York learn about how their ancestors lived.
John Rhymer, head of Bishops Wood Centre said: "It so exciting to actually have the hall finished. We wanted to mark this as not only celebrating the hall but the work that went into creating it.”
Paul Mortimer, who regularly appears dressed at King Radwaeld, said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to be here. It’s important for children to learn about Anglo-Saxon times, it was the beginning of England and where our language came from.”
Mr Herbert, who discovered Anglo-Saxon gold and silver valued at over £3 million in farm land near Lichfield in July 2009, said it was unbelievable to be able to hold King Radwaeld’s sword and to see representations of the people who would have used the objects he found.
The opening was attended by members of Kidderminster Art Society who took charcoal from the remains of the first building back in 2008 and tried it out as a drawing material.
The Saxon hall will be opened to the public for the first time on Sunday, March 13 between 2pm and 4pm, when an archaeologist will present video and slides.
To find out more call Bishops Wood Centre on 01299 250 513 or visit their website at bishopswoodcentre.org.uk